Trip Report: 1st IGeLU Conference, Stockholm, 3-7th September 2006

From MPDLMediaWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Conference web site:
Conference blog by Owen Stephens:

German Summary[edit]

Vom 3. bis 7. September haben Anke Bruns, Regina Bost und ich am ersten Treffen der "International Group of ExLibris Users" (IGeLU) teilgenommen. IGeLU hat sich Anfang des Jahres aus den bislang getrennten Anwendergruppen fuer Aleph (ICAU) und SFX/MetaLib (SMUG) gebildet und soll als Dachorganisation nun allen Anwendern von ExLibris-Produkten als Vertretung offen stehen. Fuer die einzelnen Anwendungen wurden innerhalb von IGeLU eigenstaendige "Product Working Groups" (PWG) gegruendet.

Die IGeLU-Meetings setzen die bisherigen ICAU- und SMUG-Treffen fort. Ziele:

  • Organisation der Anwendervertretung (z.B. Wahlen, Abstimmung des Weiterentwicklungsprozess mit ExLibris - der dann von den PWGs organisiert wird)
  • Praesentation kommender Weiterentwicklungen und kuenftiger Plaene (durch ExLibris)
  • Informationsaustausch unter den Anwendern

Das diesjaehrige Treffen stand im Zeichen der IGeLU-Neugruendung, d.h. es wurden besonders viele organisatorische Fragen besprochen. Darueber hinaus waren fuer mich die MetaLib- und SFX-Updates sehr interessant, z.B. warten beide Anwendungen im naechsten Jahr mit einer neuen Software-Version auf. Die Anwenderpraesentationen zeichneten sich durch gewohnt hohe Qualitaet aus: Die Themen waren weit gestreut und behandelten z.B. den Einsatz von MetaIndex im Nelly-Portal, die Integration von MetaLib/SFX-Diensten in persoenliche Portale (= der oft beschworene integrierte Wissenschaftler-Arbeitsplatz?) und Sicherheitsfragen beim Betrieb von MetaLib/SFX. Der letzte Tag beschaeftigte sich schwerpunktmaessig mit der "Zukunft der Bibliothekskataloge". Dort wurde die These aufgestellt, dass die lokalen Kataloge fuer die Informationsrecherche deutlich an Bedeutung verloren haben bzw. noch verlieren werden. Die Nutzer recherchieren verstaerkt in zentralen Repositorien (GoogleScholar, Primo, Vierlaenderkatalog,...) und Bibliotheken muessen sich um die Integration ihrer lokalen Dienste in diese zentralen Angebote kuemmern.

English Summary[edit]

Sunday and Monday have been mainly dedicated to organizational issues about the new IGeLU association. Tuesday and Wednesday concentrated on product updates provided by ExLibris and user experiences about various issues, e.g. integration of SFX/MetaLib services in eLearning environments, usage of X-Server, generating user statistics, working with Pivotal (= the customer relationship management tool used by ExLibris), etc. On Thursday, all presentation focus on the future of library services (i.e. the library catalog) and Primo as the upcoming "solution for the discovery of institutional resources and the delivery of materials and services for different types of collections" has been presented to the audience.

Some conclusions from the IGeLU meeting:

  • The integration of digital library services (e.g. MetaLib, SFX, IR) into scientific desktop applications is an interesting approach. The Liferay environment seems to be an appropriate solution (see presentation by B. Dieckmann). Question: Who is responsible for building the integrated presentation layer providing access to MPS info services?
  • Several institutions and library consortia meanwhile extended their licensing contracts with special appendices or guidelines describing the technical requirements (OpenURL, SRU/SRW, z39.50, OAI, RSS, etc.). Some examples for "best practice" are collected below. From my point of view this would be very desirable for MPS as well.
  • Is there a need for a strategical partnership with any SFX/MetaLib consortia installation? Goal: To outsource system administration and benefit from the knowledge gained in these institutions.

Detailed information[edit]

Detailed information about visited sessions can be found below

Sunday, 3rd September: Meeting of the National SMUG User Groups[edit]

On Sunday afternoon about 20 persons from 11 national SFX/MetaLib user groups met. The most national groups are as informal like the SMUG.dach, but a range of them seem to be more homogenous (e.g. only consisting of university libraries organized in one consortium).

  • We have much to share, e.g. negotiations's guide, usability studies, benchmarks, configurations, enhancements
  • We have some concerns, e.g. access to pivotal, hardware requirements, oracle support for MetaLib, knowledge bases, more transparency
  • Follow up meeting planned for next IGeLU conference (partly together with ANUG)

Monday, 4th September[edit]

The day was mainly dedicated to organizational issues. IGeLU was founded in the beginning 2006 from the two grups ICAU (aleph user group) and SMUG (sfx/metalib user group) and therefore a lot of issues needs to be presented:

  • Report of the IGeLU chair, incl. the need for different kind of inputs to ExLibris. Guido is laying down his job, Jirka Kende taking over
  • Presentation of candidates for SC chair and members of SC committee.
  • ELUNA (on the same level than IGeLU), relationship to national user groups
  • Product Working Groups (PWG): Aleph, DigiTool, Verde, SFX/MetaLib
    The SMUG PWG decided that it's not the time to decide about splitting this year; two further persons required). I volunteered for supporting the SFX enhancement process :)
  • Special Interest Working Group: Consortia, Interface, Pivotal, ...

Tuesday, 5th September[edit]

Integrating MetaLib and SFX with DSpace - Idea: metadata are harvested from DSpace, converted to USMarc and then indexed by Zebra to make them available via z39.50. This interface is used for a MetaLib configuration as well as an SFX PlugIn.

MetaLib Usage Statistics at RUG (Roxana back in Groningen) & X-Server application (LiveTrix)

  • 15% errors with MetaLib searches. -> Some technical measures (e.g. cron job to check z5.50 gate) reduce this figure to 1.5 %
  • 50% zero or false results. Reasons: misspelling & typos, picking databases at random, wrong language, wrong search keys, lack of understanding boolean syntax

Liferay - Integrating MetaLib into an university portal (Bernd Diekmann, Oldenburg, Liferay)

  • Implementation SSO, CAS (OPAC, via HTML front-end, MetaLib, via HTML frontend)
  • Current status of integration: OPAC, via SRU interface. MetaLib, via HTML frontend
  • Two additional Liferay portlet are currently developed by students: Full MetaLib functionality by using the X-Server, independent eShelf functionality

The presentation Securing MetaLib and SFX made a range of recommendations to improve the system security, e.g.

  • restrict access to admin interfaces to IP ranges
  • limit user access in the SFX management
  • use https for anywhere a password is transferred
  • keep an eye on the apache access logs for URLs you wound't expect
  • keep up to date with the service releases

MetaLib product report:

  • MetaLib is the first product with an interface reworked according to accessibility guidelines. The ML 4 user interface was not redesigned and the most changes appeared "behind the scene". The new version addresses following issues:
    • section 508 commpliance
    • usability (jaws)
    • HTML, CSS validity - html 4.01 transistional, CSS 2.0, three browser css merged in one
    • simplicity - lighten HTML, reduce use of JS, real pop-up windows
    • ease of customization - reduce TCO for customers
  • concept of clustering and faceting search results (-> enable to analyze their search results)
    • Topic clustering (-> not by merging search results, but requesting an cluster engine), faceting (-> by parsing information from search results)
  • CKB enhancements: From 778 in September 2005 to 1030 configurations in September 2006. 107 of "Top 200" CKB requests.
    • 78-80% of CKB resources use z39.50 or XML standard
    • 25%-30% of CKB resources are 'regional' or 'local'
    • advanced tools for knowledgebase management are tested by selected customers to find out how useful they are
  • Release Philosophy: as many features as possible have been released in various MetaLib 3.13 Service packs
  • The MetaLib version 4 will be released and rollout to ExLibris offices and distributor at end of december 2006 (webinar planned). The local rollout by exl offices and distributors: early adopters - early 2007
  • Upgrade Express: automated update kid (similar to Aleph update procedure). The customization of version 4 will not impact the 'live' ml 3.13.
  • What is the future of MetaLib? MetaLib does remain a key component in ExLibris' overall strategy
  • About 35 customers use the MetaLib x-Server (webinar planned for 18th of october).

SFX product report - Following features will be added in the future:

  • relationships between conference series (ISSN) and related proceedings (ISBN and pub year)
  • tools for collection analysis
  • ONIX SOH for loading and exporting license data
  • development of a link checker for the SFX kb team, but their are currently no plans to release this tool to customers.
  • SFX version 4 comes in 2007. The new version will include a revision of admin interface, further integration with verde, semi-monthly kb updates ("load on demand").

Wednesday, 6th September[edit]

Integrating library resources into SAKAI (Open Source CMS = Course Management Software)

  • possible tasks for instructors (select content for courseware, create durable links), students (e.g. retrieve material), and librarien (e.g. provide search strategies)
  • sakai tools = interface and sakai services = backend. default tools and sovervices provided, more may be pluged in
  • instructor can select tools for their course
  • sakaibrary is a project from several US libraries which has the goal to include library resources, advanced by the mellon foundation. Concrete:
    phase one: library search tool and citation maangagement tool (= creating a reference list out from various resources)
    phase 2: subject research guide
  • sakai is moving towards an rdf triple to store its information, sakaibrary is using OKI (API) interface

MetaIndex is used to build indexes in MetaLib which can afterwards been searched like other databases via the meta search interface. Currently, a range of OAI-PMH compatible information providers are harvested. Altogether, Nelli is quite satisfied with the MetaIndex software and implementation after the last bugs have been solved by ExLibris. Open Issues:

  • Central management of indexes as the setup can be challenging and the creation and update of indexes uses a lot of CPU power.
  • Non OAI-compliant resources can be included by manually triggering the conversion and update
  • MetaIndexes cannot be not sorted (last items return first), no relevance ranking.
  • MetaIndexes are handled as any other resource in the MetaSearch environment (relationship to harvesting data in Primo?)

Pivotal - ExLibris would like to provide customers with excellent and responsive services and Pivotal should become a "one stop shop" for all support activities (incl. documentation). Currently 1300 organizations are using Pivotal for communicating with ExLibris (= 2800 end users). Alltogether, ExLibris doesn't want to make essential changes in pivotal, but aggrees that a few functionalities need to be revised to improve the service. As a fist step the session timeout has been increased to 40 minutes. Further improvements planned:

  • sfx kb changes requests to crm
  • known issue section in the knowledgebase - should be published as soon as possible
  • a new status "wating for processing" will be added. An incident in status "wait for information" changes to "wait for processing" after the customer provided the requested information
  • ongoing inprovements to email correspondence
  • news items featured in home page
  • substitute the existing doc portal and integrate with crm (= search all documentation at one entry point)
  • develop training center (e.g. flash presentation)
  • download zone within crm
  • product license information in crm


  • what search engine to search documents in crm? -> Plans are not finalized
  • reopening of incidents? -> won't be allowed!
  • closure of incidents? -> ExLibris shouldn't close an incident before the problem is finally closed and the fix is available as part of a software release. A new status (e.g. "in process of implementation") might be added which can be solved by the customer after implementation of release.

Thursday, 7th September[edit]

From local catalogs to central repositories. Some quotes from Karen Calhoun (Cornell University) and Hans Gleijnse (Tilburg University)

  • Outsource issues you cannot do better, e.g. technical subjects like server administration
  • Access deferred is the same than access denied
  • Quality is very related to the context and librarians tend to have a specific focus on qa activities. Question: Is it quality if a "good" catalog entry has been created in two days?
  • Is resource discovery still a future role for libraries - or is it only about resource delivery?


  • MetaLib solves a "very practical" issue: As long as not all resources are owned by an institution, they still should be offered via one portal. There is still much space for imroving MetaSearch (e.g. multilingual subject searches or author searches) and Primo will reuse the MetaSearch application, thus implementing an integrated information space
  • Primo mainly as a service offered/maintained on a central/national/regional level=
  • Mash-up the central Primo installation with many types of information (e.g. tocs, reviews, ...)
  • Flexible layer architecture: Source/Repository <-> Publishing Platform (Harvesting, Normalization & Enriching, PNX = Primo Normalized XML record) <-> Search Engine (SE specific transformations, SE/Lucene setup, API web services) <-> Application (SOAP) <-> Presentation (html)

Miscellenous Notes[edit]

  • Licensing information resources - Several institutions and library consortia meanwhile extended their licensing contracts with special appendices or guidelines describing the technical requirements (OpenURL, SRU/SRW, z39.50, OAI, RSS, etc.). Examples for "best practice":
  • SFX Direct Link (find-it): SFX short information in top frame
  • SFX express to adminster institute configurations
  • ML 4 change: two search terms entered without any connecting parameter will be interpreted as combined with "AND"
  • Central Authentication Service (CAS) is a protocol for single sign-on (SSO). The MetaLib application is CASified.
  • Personal web portals. Java Specification Request 168 (see JSR 168) is a standard which defines a set of APIs and by this should enable interoperability between Portlets and Portals. A DINI work group works about web portals as well.
  • MetaLib statistic data are still buggy! Karen Groves gave an update in the consortia special interest group and will also compile a written report. Stefan will forward it to us.
  • NISO MetaSearch intiative dispended after the recomendations habe been published